WELCOME TO THE RUTLAND
LEICSTERSHIRE PANTHER WATCH
Sightings 2003 page
This page features the sightings log for 2003 Leics and Rutland and periphery only
Click on link for 2001/2 sightings
Reports are received from a variety of sources including referrals from Leics Police, local media referrals, and direct or indirect contacts by phone, letter or increasingly email. It should be remembered that these are just the tip of the iceberg and many are not reported, or come in years later.
Where possible, all reports are followed up by telecon as a minimum or site visits. Where a "hot" report comes in, ourselves and the Police have been on site within a few hours and in at least a couple of occasions, further sightings have occurred whilst attending. One notable occasion in 2000 resulted in the Police wildlife officer eyeballing a Panther before it ran off at immense speed!! Needless to say that he is now (if not quite then) a 100% believer in their existence
Please note that sometimes, specific location details are withheld for safety of the Cats
7th January 10:00 hrs Humberstone drive, Leicester
Large, panther like (black) cat seen climbing down tree at bottom of garden, backing onto overgrown allotments This area is close to the disused railway that runs into Leicester city centre form the East and is about 3 miles out from the city centre itself. One of a number of "green" corridors used by the cats to access the city at night. Lady that saw the cat got very good view and said it was just as a panther looks like. Note this sighting is also very close to previous reports in 2002 on Keyham lane etc.
19th January 08:30 hrs Twyford to Queniborough rd, near Bagrave park East Leics
Large, panther like cat seen to cross road on Sunday morning. Size of labrador but longer with long tail. Seen close up and very cat like.
This is only mile from where carp was taken from a pond at Twyford and only 2 miles from Burrough on the hill, site of many reports.
18/19th January, Hoby/Thrussington, south Melton
Lady found very large prints left overnight Saturday in silt , on concrete floor of covered stable block area. Animal had wandered into 15 foot square area, and walked around edge of building and out again. Whole complex is fenced in by 5 foot gates and fences and is next to house in isolated location away from village. Police attended and thought prints too big for a dog at 4 1/2 inches and could be a big cat. When i got there, prints had faded as they were more muddy footprints than depressions. Sightings of animal around there in previous years. Also, about 6 miles from the sighting at Twyford on the Sunday morning so could be same cat. although as it was bad night, I suspect that the cat was looking for shelter and the one seen at Twyford was out hunting in the sunshine after a night laid up in a barn.
21st Jan, 17:30 Hoby church yard, south of Melton
Less than 1/2 mile from the above report, a panther like creature was seen to jump on to an 8 foot retaining wall into Hoby church yard by a local publican and his mother, as they drove through the village. It was black, size of large dog and cat like.
25th/26th January, Hoby/Thrussington, south Melton
Exact repetition of the 18th/19th January paw prints found in same location in the mud on the floor of stable block of the farm. On this occasion, on the Sunday night (after the prints found) the owners daughter arrived home with her BF to see a large, panther like creature emerge from the fenced in stable yard behind the house and slink into the large disused barn complex behind.
It has however not been seen again since a search was made of the barns
31st Jan:11:00 Braunstone town, West Leicester
Report via email
"I was reading up on your web site last night about big cats, and the sightings on them.Yesterday morning something happened in my garden on which neither my Brother in law or myself could make sense off.
At about 11 am on friday the 31th of Jan 03, my sister and her partner came to see me, as i was at home looking after there youngest child. When we retired into my living room my brother in law noticed a large black tail as the *Big cat* was heading into my neighbours garden to my right, as he said he only saw the back end, and described it to me and was sure he saw a Black Panther like Big Cat, I thought he was joking and told him to stop, but he was deadly serious as the colour drained out off his face, so I decided to go and see for myself.
I went to the Bedroom upstairs facing our back garden, and looked into the right garden, there i could see nothing, but when i looked further down the gardens i saw a Black Cat like creature which was four times the size off a domestic cat, it had black fur, and it looked like it was hiding under some sort off Bush, but what made me question it was the fact that a domestic cat could hide under that bush, but this Big Cat was to big to make itself not seen, i heard a noise as well, *the noise my cat used to make when getting angry *, so i asked my brother in law to come in doors as he was in the garden looking at what he thought looked like pressure was applied to my wet soil in the garden, as i have bark chip on my borders he felt that one could see some sort off pressure was applied to some areas.
I told my parents about this, as I could not make sense off this, and read up on your web site on their behaviour, what food they eat etc, and on why we have these *Big alien cats* in the Uk.
I notified my neighbour to my left who happens to have two small terrier like dogs, because when all this happening her dogs were barking a lot but their bark was an alarming sort off bark.
But as you can imagine my neighbours and my father feel that I am completely mad.
I have studied your web site to try and make sense off what we both saw, and read other sightings, and we as well educated ourselves on the different types off leopards there really are.
But the one I saw was four times the size off a normal British domestic cat, its Fur was Black, and its tail was much longer then a cats.
I hope that some answers maybe found, and that some sense maybe made out off yesterday's occurrence.
Footnote; Braunstone town is a very large council estate in West Leicester bordering the M1 with large areas of cover and parkland and a goods railway running into the centre of Leicester goes through it.
Plenty of previous reports a year or so back within 1/4 mile of this sighting and recent ones within 3 miles.
Pullman rd, Wigston, South Leicester date unknown
Following a radio interview regarding sighting at Wigston end of April, following report received.
"I'd like to report a sighting of a big cat, this was in January on Pullman
Thursday 6th Feb 15:00
A1/A47/ A43 triangle near Collyweston, East Rutland/ Cambs / Lincs borders
Report taken from the "Rutland Mercury" 14th Feb
Lady was on way to collect her children from Kings Cliffe
She said, "I was going along the Collyweston straight and had turned left towards the A47 when I saw it in the field to my right.
"I was completely shocked and pulled over so I could see it more clearly, and watched it stalk along the field and disappear into the woods at the back"
Numerous sightings of big cats have been made in Mercury country, notably the Beast of Bourne which was seen by several people in villages along the A15 and the Rutland Panther which has been spotted many times over the past years.
Karen who works with horses is convinced it was the famous Rutland Panther
She said "As I work with animals, I know that it was not a domestic pet- it was far too big and walked just like a wild cat"
"I was only yards away from it and my instinct was to lock the car doors-even though I knew it could not get in. _ just because it was so unusual.
But Karen said what was more unusual was the number of people who believed her.
She said "when I told other parents in the playground, I thought they would think I'd been drinking or something but no-one seemed surprised at all".
"I will certainly be keeping an eye out for it from now on"
Footnote: This report is less than 2 miles from the Ketton Cement works where the panthers are regular visitors and may well be living in the vast disused workings forming the SSSI woods next to it.
10th Feb 11:00 Plantation off Oakham rd Braunston in Rutland
Panther like cat clearly seen in the morning on newly planted wood on side of Oakham rd
12th Feb 11:05 Groby Quarry, Nrth Leicester
Panther seen in the morning in front of parked lorry, by driver in his cab. Could see it very clearly, only a few feet away and watched it for some time as it wandered around the workings as he waited to load. Definitely a very large black cat and with 3 foot tail and long 3 to 4 foot body.
13th Feb 09:30 Kirby Bellars, near railway
Panther seen in the morning at close range near the main Leicester Melton railway. This location is only 3 miles north of the Hoby reports so it is the smae cat, there are also reports of a calf's remains turning up in nearby Asfordby on the playing fields but no link to the cat made yet. However it has been seen there in the past
19th Feb 14:10 Ulverscroft Lane, Charnwood Forest, North Leics
Panther like big cat seen to cross this small wooded lane in front of couple in car. Very startled and contacted the local radio , following which, the nearby report was sent in from the Groby quarry on 12th Feb
7th March 18:30 Hoby / Asfordby on the Wreake valley nr Melton
panther like cat seen near to the two villages.
Previous sightings in Jan at Hoby church and farm nearby
13th April 18:00 Essendine, Rutland on East Coast main Line
Panther like cat seen by 3 independent witnesses next to and then on the embankment of the ECML. The first witness phoned her friend who arrived with binoculars and a camcorder but it was too far away by then to film but she confirmed its size. We were then later contacted by a third witness at another locn in the village who had watched the cat at the same time as the other 2 and confirmed it was a very large black cat, like a panther. It climbed the bank and then wandered alongside the tracks before going into cover
There have been hundreds of big cat sightings on or near railways, both used and disused and Essendine and nearby Ryhall has always been a regular locn for panther reports. Only 5 miles north of Essendine is the South Lincs town of Bourne where there have been a hotspot of big cat sightings both recently and for years now
16th April 01:30 Cossington, North Leics
Two Well respected local villagers one a retired farmer and the other ex army on mobile village neighbour hood watch patrol observed a large black cat like creature, size of labrador dog in the early hours . The cat crossed about 150 yards in front and went into hedge as they got closer. They said it had a shiny coat
17th April 23:30 Cossington, North Leics
Same witnesses as above, and on same road but near the Leicester / Loughborough main line railway. Cat again went into hedge.
They are in touch with the police on radio and informed them of both immediately, but the police were not surprised in the least. It subsequently was mentioned at the parish council meeting
Its also emerged that local farms have lost cats recently and that the local wildlife has recently "dissapeared"
21st April 10:20 Withcote / Owston woods, 5 miles west of Oakham
Brown Puma like cat seen in the morning by the next door neighbour to my father at nearby Knossington!!
The cat was walking through a sheep flock on the very large sloping field leading up to the substantial Owston woods, The lady was close and slowed to look and said the sheep were not bothered by its presence. She said it was very large and very cat like and subsequently identified it from photos, to dad as a Puma (cougar)
This lady actually saw a panther some years back at nearby Somerby / Burrough but was surprised that this cat was brown. We have had Pumas seen from time to time , in fact, one was seen on Burrough Hill some years back , but the last Puma report was the end of 2002 over in Charnwood. Its also not the first time these cats have been seen wandering through sheep without disturbing them both in this area and elsewhere. Its also been recorded in Africa, with well fed Leopards wandering through gazell herds with them still grazing.
29th April 18:50 Groby college, Groby, Nrth Leicester
Panther like cat seen clearly by cpl in parked car, in car park of Groby college. The creature walked in front of them across the car park, only 8 feet away and into the woods next to the large Martinshaw wood that is on both sides of the M1 motorway between J 21 and 22.
They said it was black, bigger than a dog but cat with very long bushy (not fox like) tail very sleek and powerful
See also report January at the Groby quarry and later, Ulverscroft lane
30th April 06:30 Wigston Harcourt, South Leicester
Elderly country man observed a large panther like cat on a lane near the village early in the morning. He was very close to it and was quite shaken and rang the BBC local radio to report it and warn others. I did a radio interview regarding this and received even more reports from elsewhere.
This report is only yards from where we believe, cubs were reared during the summer 3 years ago, when we arrived the day after the mother relocated them following being disturbed by the field being cut for hay, but both the cubs and mother were seen there. In fact the cubs were playing in dust near the road on one occasion.
To be advised
Various dates in June over 2 week period
Four 25kg lambs killed at Launde Abbey in East Leics, all consumed of meat overnight and bear hallmarks of a big cat kill.
5th June 1700- 1800 A1/A47 junction Wansford nr Peterborough
Panther likecat seen less than mile form where seen year ago
19 June2300 East Leake, Notts / Leics border
Panther like cat seen as driver came off A6006
22June 2030 Oakham town end of Braunston rd
Warden supervised bungalows (vet side of railway footbridge) Lady heard yowl looked out of back door saw domestic cat in next door yard panther came round corner she shouted to protect domestic cat big cat turned round corner and disappeared.
24 June 1730 Rutland Water coming out of Hambleton
On the start of woods by car park Black cat bigger than Labrador long tail casually bounded across peninsular access road
28 June 17:30 Hoby Glebe House
Large black cat spotted from a local garden centre car park at about 100 metres over open ground. Witness said "from that distance it was really big about three times taller than a domestic, with a long body and a long tail. Jet Black, with it's head hung low - near the ground as it walked"
30 th June 2200 Wistow park towards Kilby, South Leicester
Panther like cat seen
2nd July 10 30 am Oakham Brooke Hill
Local builder working on roof saw panther like cat 2 doors from primary school casually walking long pavement then crossed rd into bean field where it vanished. About size of lab dog, long tail and black
Sighting is around corner from my own house!! And both Panthers and lynx have been seen within yards of this sighting over the last 10 years. Also only 1/2 mile from the sightings on 22 and 24th June
8th July 10 30 am A 47 towards Houghton and Leicester
After turn from Tilton, big black cat size of dobermann dog and weight about 40kg jumped into road then jumped back as it changed its mind
Click on link for 2001/2 sightings
Back to main page
Or go to the sightings log for Leics and Rutland from the early 90's up to 2000